Roche to sell U.S. plant to Patheon, saving about 200 jobs

U.S. CDMO Patheon is buying an API plant in Florence, SC, that Swiss drugmaker Roche was preparing to close.

Roche has a deal to sell an API plant in South Carolina to CDMO Patheon for a nominal amount, a deal that will save about 200 jobs at the plant in Florence which the Swiss drugmaker was preparing to close.

Durham, NC-based Patheon said it has a definitive agreement to buy the 1,100-acre, 300,000-square-foot facility for what it said is an “immaterial sum, plus the cost of associated inventory and spare parts.”  

It also has a multiyear year deal to supply Roche with APIs that will help cover the costs of the facility until the contractor can get new business into it. Patheon said the facility will expand its capacity for manufacturing highly potent compounds, while adding micronization capabilities and commercial spray drying.

“The company will benefit from the additional North American API capacity and adds a state-of-the-art facility with approximately 200 scientific and manufacturing professionals,” Patheon CEO James Mullen said in a statement.

In an emailed statement, Roche spokeswomen Anja von Treskow said Tuesday the deal with Patheon, which is already a supplier to Roche, is expected to close within 60 days. 

Roche said last year it would close the Florence plant, along with plants in Clarecastle, Ireland; Leganes, Spain, and Segrate, Italy, as part of a cost-saving plan that would remove about 1,200 jobs from its payroll. It took a charge of about $1.6 billion for the closures.  

While its decision was firm, the Swiss drugmaker said it was trying to sell the plants to save jobs. In June, Greek contract manufacturer Famar said it had struck a deal to take the Leganes, Spain, plant and to supply Roche with APIs.

"In regards to the other sites, we can confirm that we are continuing with our efforts to divest Leganés and Segrate as operational sites to a reputable company, while Clarecastle is in the process of ramping down with production estimated to end in 2019. At this point in time we cannot comment further," Roche said in its statement.  

Editor's Note: The story was updated with comments from Roche.